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By: gwyned, gwyned
Jun 29 2011 1:20pm
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I. Introduction

Welcome back readers to the 2nd part of my tournament report from MPDC Season 12 WORLDS. This article is a little later getting out than I had hoped, but I am still just barely within a two week window of my previous article, which seems to be a pace that I can keep up with for the foreseeable future. I actually have several articles that I am hoping to submit over the next few months, including my own thoughts regarding the Standard Pauper format and the level of official support from Wizards of the Coast that would be most beneficial for the Standard Pauper community. But for now, I hope you enjoy the rest of the story regarding my extraordinary day from MPDC Season 12 WORLDS. Also, in case you missed it or merely want a quick refresher, Part One can be found here.

As always in my articles, let me remind you that the goal of this series is to highlight key features, decklists, or matches from Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, commonly referred to as MPDC. MPDC is a weekly PRE featuring a Swiss tournament in the Standard Pauper format, with prizes awarded for the Top 8 finishers thanks to the sponsorship of MTGOTraders. As always, if you've never checked out MPDC, I encourage you to browse over to PDCMagic.com for all the information and then come join us at 2:00pm EST / 6:00pm GMT in the /join MPDC room. With the beginning of a brand new season, now is the perfect time for anyone to get their first taste of Standard Pauper.

To get us started, here's the snapshot of the deck once again:

II. The Decklist


III. The Matches

After my first round bye due to my 2nd place ranking in Season Points and my 2-1 top-decking victory over RedUndant in Round 2, it was time for Round 3.

A. Round 3: W 2-1 vs RedUndant

Yes, that's not a typo. For Round 3 I faced the exact same deck as the previous round, this time piloted by the very strong player SupergrooveRock. As you may recall, RedUndant is a very aggressive UR deck that relies upon burn and, after the sideboard, Kiln Fiend to quickly finish off an opponent. Unfortunately replays were lost for Games 1 & 2, but they were both pretty one-sided. G1 my opponent quickly unloaded a massive suite of burn spells and aggressive creatures, finishing me off before I had even the remotest hint of stabilizing. G2 I was able to stabilize early, relying upon Lone Missionary, Deprive, and Sylvok Lifestaff to keep my Life Total high and the worst of his destruction off the table.

Game 3 was slightly more interesting (and saved in the replays, naturally). After mulling to 6, I decided to keep this hand:

It's definitely marginal with one Island one Preordain hand. Fortunately I drew into Halimar Depths and found both a Plains and a Mountain to stay in the game. My opponent curved out with a T2 Perilous Myr and T3 Kiln Fiend, but I took both back off the Battlefield with Staggershock. Despite another barrage of burn spells from my opponent, I eventually stabilized with the combination of double Lone Missionary and Sylvok Lifestaff. My opponent eventually flooded out with Lands, and with that victory I won the match.

B. Round 4: W 2-0 vs Esper

Round 4 could have easily been one of the toughest matches of the whole tournament. Esper is one of the few decks with the right combination of counters, Life gain, destruction, and card advantage to outlast America in a long, protracted match. Game 1 my opponent pulled off the coveted T2 Squadron Hawk, while I was light on creatures and fairly mana flooded. By the time I found some Squadron Hawks of my own, I was down to 12 Life and about to down a game:

Fortunately I was able to win the card advantage game off of triple Foresee, and managed to get rid of both my opponent's Sylvok Lifestaffs with  double Kor Sanctifiers. Although my opponent fought back with Gravedigger, Deprive proved very handy to counter later recursion. In the end I was simply able to blast all of my opponent's creatures off the virtual Battlefield, and swung with multiple creatures for the win.

Game 2 played out in a similar fashion. Both of us landed T2 Squadron Hawks, and I managed to find enough Land off the top to stay competitive after a very Land-light hand. Sky-Eel School proved invaluable in this match, holding off my opponent's Hawks and Kor Skyfisher after my own Hawks were taken down by a bounced Bala Ged Scorpion. My opponent also had the misfortune of being color-screwed, which probably was a major contributing factor to my win. Once again, I managed to stay ahead on cards through judicious use of Foresee, Preordain, and Staggershock. And, once again, I was able to burn out all my opponent's creatures and reduce him down to a few meager Life. A pair of top-decked Lone Missionarys almost kept my opponent in the game, but in the end I was once again victorious.

C. Round 5: W 2-0 vs 3 Color Control

For Round 5 I found myself paired against pk23, another top player, who would eventually go on to take 2nd place in the tournament. His 3 Color Control list was very similar to my America; indeed, his decklist influenced some of my choices. Game 1's replay was unfortunately lost, but my opponent was unable to find his third color and lost the game quite quickly. In fact, based on his cards, I mistakenly thought he was playing Esper for the event, siding in some Nihil Spellbombs that would have been absolutely worthless, had I ever drawn them!

Game 2 I had yet another awkward mulligan to 6, this time to an Island and Halimar Depths plus spells. The fickle shuffler, however, favored me with a T1 Terramorphic Expanse and a T2 Mountain, allowing me to fetch a Plains and resolve the coveted T2 Squadron Hawk. I took a very aggressive line once again, using Flame Slash to take out an early Kor Skyfisher and swing in with my team of hawks. My opponent countered with hawks of his own. I began to fall behind on mana until resolving a Foresee, which revealed two lands and a Deprive off the top, all of which I kept to stay competitive. After Kor Sanctifiers took out his Flayer Husk, pk23 pushed back by sending both my Kor Skyfisher and Sky-Eel School to the graveyard with a double Staggershock This left us basically as parity:

I ended up generating a ton of card advantage off of Blisterstick Shaman, Sea Gate Oracle, and Kor Sanctifiers, and surprisingly quickly emptied out his side of the virtual Battlefield. I had merely to swing in with the team twice to take the win.

D. Interlude

After five rounds of play, every other player had lost at least one match, leaving me all alone in the upper bracket. As a result of winning this match, I now had a guaranteed spot in the Finals. Furthermore, since I had yet to lose a game, my eventually opponent would have to beat me in two back-to-back matches in order to take the Season Championship from me. Interestingly enough, my Round 5 opponent was the highest seeded player for the event, and also got to enjoy two rounds of byes before playing again; as a result, he was guaranteed to at least make Top 4. Just for reference, here's a copy of the tournament bracket for the event from inside DCI Reporter v.3, which I use to generate the WORLDS event rather than creating the brackets by hand:

In the past, some have complained that the advantage of having a high seed in these Double Elimination events is simply too powerful. It is not unusual for a single player to end up with consecutive byes in the lower bracket, and therefore not having to face the possibility of elimination while other lower-seeded players battle it out and are eliminated. However, I actually prefer this sort of outcome. Let me explain.

1. First, it is unavoidable. In any Double Elimination tournament, you will end up with an odd number of players, and thus byes are unavoidable. While it might technically be more fair to award them randomly, some might argue that this is equally unfair. Why should one player arbitrarily get a major advantage over anyone else? But, since seeding is based upon overall Season Standings, the higher seeded player has, in fact, worked hard and earned the right to the bye.

2. Second, this gives players incentive to play in every event during the season, to play each round of Swiss regardless of whether they can still qualify for prizes, and to register their decklist after every event, all of which contributes to a more successful series of tournaments and an information-rich metagame. As an added bonus, this also allows players that typically do not make Top 8 during the regular season to still qualify for our WORLDS event, since simply playing each round of Swiss and registering your decklist each week typically generates more than enough points for anyone to qualify. 

Bottom-line is this: If you are a regular participant in MPDC, it is in your best interest to play each round of Swiss, to show up for as many events as you can, and to register your decklist each week. The Season Points generated this way not only guarantee that you'll earn an invite to that season's WORLDS event, but also will give you the best shot at having a higher seed than your opponents and making it further in the championship event.

E. Round 9: W 2-1 vs. 3 Color Control 

Again, the round number is not a typo. There were indeed four whole rounds which were necessary for the lower bracket to eliminate all but one player. And not unexpectedly, I found myself paired once again with my Round 5 opponent in the Finals. But rather than simply summarizing this final match, I thought it would be a nice touch if instead I went back and created a retrospective video-cast of the experience.


After the first match, I made the following changes from my Sideboard: -1 Blisterstick Shaman,
-1 Preordain, -1 Staggershock, +1 Flame Slash, +1 Negate, +1 (Sky Eel School)


I chose not to make any Sideboard changes for Game 3.

IV. Conclusion

And with that Part Two of my MPDC Season 12 WORLDS Report is at an end. Let me remind you that if you would like a sneak peak at my content before it goes live here at PureMTGO.com, you can always browse over to YouTube.com, search for "gwyned42," select one of my video-casts, and click the Subscribe button. You can also now follow me on Twitter at the username gwyned42; check out my profile here and click on Follow. Let me extend once again a special thanks to all my fellow Standard Pauper players who have taken the time to thank me for these articles. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts, watch the videos, and comment on my articles. And with the recent record turnout for a Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, I truly believe that the future of my favorite format looks grand indeed. Hope to see you soon on the other side of the virtual Battlefield.